“As a Product Development Manager I signed up for a disabled mentor to ensure that disabled people are involved and consulted in the design and development of new products and services. I also wanted to become a champion of disability within the digital team to embed my learning from the scheme into the organisation. I found the scheme both inspiring and eye-opening and learned so much about how much of an invisible barrier disabled people face in everyday life. My mentor was open and incredibly inspiring and helped me to make our digital services far more accessible”.
“We’ve found the Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme a valuable experience. It’s really helped us in our continuing efforts as part of our Disability Confident journey to adapt and improve how we operate – looking at recruitment, support for existing staff, our business support offer, events and more. And it’s been immensely enjoyable too! I’d absolutely recommend it!”
“I met Iona, my mentor, as part of my role as Cabinet lead for equalities and from our first meeting I knew how beneficial our mentoring was going to be. The sessions were very well structured with clearly defined expectations and outcomes and I was able to completely reflect on how well (or not) that the council delivered. I learnt so much from our sessions with incredibly useful resources provided. I would highly recommend Iona and this wonderful scheme.”
“We signed up to the Disability Mentoring Scheme to help enhance 3 different business areas, one of these being to support the redesign of our website in becoming more accessible and user friendly. Our mentor, Tracy, provided a comprehensive and objective report that helped us to significantly strengthen our disability awareness and website accessibility. The accessibility of our external website is very important to SMS so a massive thank you to Tracy for her support to make it even better!”
“As many of our training participants have a disability, I was keen to make our training as accessible as possible. We do already use inbuilt accessibility features (laptops, smartphones, tablets, PCs) with our participants and many of our trainers have worked with individuals with a variety of speech, hearing, vision, and mental health challenges. Over the six month mentoring scheme I worked with my mentor to improve our processes and ensure our training materials and methods are as accessible as we can possibly make them. We discussed how important it is to treat each person as an individual, regardless of preconceptions we may have about their disability and to check in regularly to make sure our adjustments are working for them. I found the mentoring scheme extremely interesting and beneficial and as a result of the scheme we implemented adjustments to our training, new steps and ways of checking in with participants, new ways of communicating with them, and a series of staff training events to increase awareness and encourage discussion and resource development. I personally learned a great deal about ADHD that I was completely unaware of, and it’s given me much more insight into people living and working with ADHD.”
“The Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme has enabled us to gain an insight into how we can make our processes disability positive. My mentor supported us in taking a closer look at our recruitment processes, including our application process and the way that we advertise roles. Through sharing invaluable insights of disability in the workplace, Tracy has helped us to identify practical steps we can take in making our recruitment process more inclusive.”
“I initially signed up for the Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme because disability was an area where, on paper, we were significantly under-represented in terms of our workforce, and I felt it was a priority for our organisation to take steps to address this. I really enjoyed working with my mentor and we developed a great working relationship which has helped me to make some real changes to our processes and practices. We worked on issues connected to the organisation’s website, recruitment process and on tips to develop the understanding of disability amongst managers and the workforce, in part to encourage more people to speak up and tell us about the disabilities that they may have. I really enjoyed the experience and would recommend it to others who want to make some real changes to make their workplaces more inclusive”.
“I didn’t have any specific goals for signing up to the scheme but wanted to increase my general disability awareness and consider what more we could do as an organisation to be more inclusive. The mentoring relationship was great and helped to increase my awareness and understanding of a variety of disabilities, enabling me to make recommendations and suggestions to help improve diversity and inclusion not just within my organisation, but also within my role as a Director for the Institute of Legacy Management”.
“I signed up to the scheme to see things from a different perspective to increase my awareness of disability and hear someone’s personal experience of obtaining employment and the challenges they encounter. My incredible mentor spoke openly and honestly about their experiences and was able to really help me understand a completely new point of view on disability and accessibility. This is a fantastic and life changing scheme that everyone should be a part of”
“I signed up to the scheme to review our Corporate Fundraising portfolio of activities through a new lens to ensure moving forward we make our activities and partnerships as accessible as possible and the charity is represented in an accessible way for all. My mentor was great at providing feedback on our existing activities and where we could improve, even the smallest change can make a significant difference to a person’s confidence in an activity and puts everyone at ease”.
“We had identified a number of areas that we wished to address and the Disability Connect Mentoring Scheme has been absolutely invaluable in enabling us to do so. My mentor, Helen Cherry, provided insights into - and practical ways of - how we could improve our recruitment processes to make them more inclusive. In addition, her input enabled us to devise a strategy to address ableism by focussing on changing organisational culture through language and communication as well as highlighting how we could gain a greater understanding of hidden impairments and disabilities. This was a great scheme, with great results – and a great mentor, who taught me so much and was also fun to work with!”